Three Ways Businesses Can Do Good in Our World
Many entrepreneurs have great intentions but do not know how to go about making a positive impact with their businesses. Not to mention, a business needs funds to run, and altruistic endeavors are often thwarted before they reach their full potential due to lack of resources.
With the bad press that many large companies get, it can be difficult fo find good examples of organizations with others’ best interests in mind that we can use as examples for our own businesses, but examples of businesses that have been doing good for the world are out there, and were useful in compiling these three ways businesses can actually serve their communities and the planet at large.
The Money Upfront
A company that has service and community as the core of their business has the potential to push back against the typical capitalistic model. But how does a consumer tell a business is centered around service, rather than profit?
Usually, this requires the business to be upfront about their business model. Large companies are notorious for shrouding their profits and how they make them in mystery. However, a company that is working to serve a community rather than make profitable financial gains, should be upfront about where their money is coming from and what it is going to. For example, FreeWater Inc distributes, well, free water with the aim of giving everyone access to clean drinking water. They utilize aluminum bottles and paper cartons with ads printed on them in order to fund their campaign. Not only is the water free, but a minimum 10% of the ad funds acquired for each bottle gets donated to Well Aware, a charity building water wells for people in need in East Africa. All of this information can be easily found on their website, and not tucked away on some back page either. The home page and its introductory video immediately informs the consumer, or potential ad partner, the brand’s business model upfront. This leaves little room for hiding information or fraudulent activity. The business hold’s itself and its funds accountable in a very public way, which encourages their consumers/partners to hold them accountable to their cause/mission. Accountability fosters a continuation of real good work done by the business.
Clear mission statements leave no room for misdirection or misleading information, further creating a culture of accountability within a business. If the consumer can see what goal or cause a business holds at its center, it is easy to connect (positively or negatively) the business’s actions to said cause. Transparency helps our communities root out businesses attempting to scam people into purchasing an item or service that will not actually be impacting positively the community the business claims to serve. This is why a clear mission statement in conjecture with a transparent business model is paramount for a business that truly wants to do actual good.
For example, the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship website states that their “mission is to empower women to invest in themselves via entrepreneurship by providing necessary resources for women to successfully start, own, operate, and grow their businesses”. This mission statement is clear, and is backed up by their provided counseling, networking events, panels, workshops, webinars, programs, and series for affordable prices. These opportunities made accessible to marginalized individuals in the business industry, calls back to WCEC’s mission statement, making it clear that they are acting upon their mission. It is clear that they are a resource for marginalized individuals, rather than a profit machine, which allows them to work effectively within our communities.
Engagement with Current Socio-Political Climate
One of the best ways to do good as a business is to engage with a relevant socio-political issue. As previously stated WCEC provides resources for women in the business industry, within which they are marginalized (much like in our society at large). Businesses whose missions are centered around combating struggles relevant to the current socio-political climate are demonstrating that their company is ready to do something actionable and relevant in their communities. For example, Every Campus a Refuge provides resources and hospitality for refugees who have been displaced or dispossessed. Entrepreneur Diya Abdo centered her business model around utilizing universities as institutions with resources, housing, and full-bodied communities to support refugees. A company that utilizes the resources available to them to help others are able to act in their community in a way that is impactful and relevant to its needs.
We hope we’ve inspired you as an entrepreneur or consumer to make/support businesses that do good in our world! Businesses like these are especially important as they help perpetuate change on macrocosmic and microcosmic scales!